The Santa Fe Railyard's problem child just got new parents.
A group of investors today announced the purchase of the building at 500 Market Street. Current tenants, including REI, will remain in place.
But what's coming seems to hold promise. Say goodbye to the vacant space that once held Flying Star, and say to Bosque Brewing and Wayward Sons Distillery. Upstairs, it's a fresh face for Opuntia Café, moving from the Baca Street Railyard area. In addition, plans call for 10,000 square feet of office space, as well as the new headquarters for Luna Capital Holdings.
Kris Axtell, CEO of Luna Capital Holdings, a Santa Fe-based brokerage firm, is spearheading the investor group as managing partner along with four local investors, including Mike Vigil, owner of MV Industries Real Estate LLC and general contractor for the project, and Tom Wolinski, founder/owner of Wayward Sons Distillery, which opened its coffee liquor production facility last month.
The building was always intended to be one of the anchors of the city's Railyard development, but it's been more like a black hole since the partnership that originally leased the land and erected the two-story building went bankrupt. A holding company based in California had owned it for the last year, and recently managed it with the help of an Albuquerque leasing company.
While it once contained a cell phone store along with the restaurant and other tenants, the only remaining tenants aside from the outdoors retailer are fashion boutique Daniella and Puzzah, a puzzle room attraction that opened in the spring. The announcement from the investors says those businesses are all staying put.
Opuntia owner Todd Spitzer is excited about what the move means for his bursting-at-the-seams café, which will occupy a space on the second floor of the building that once originally constructed for a bowling alley and bar that never opened to the public.
“People don’t know how cool that building is up there. They have not seen it. It has high ceilings and garage doors that open up like you are outside,” he tells SFR.
With a full kitchen and room for more than 120 seats, it's more than double the capacity of the current location, and it will allow breathing room for Opuntia's other endeavor as plant sellers, he says.
Axtell writes in the announcement that he expects the new group to meet with more success that predecessors.
Even though the 64-acre Railyard is city-owned property, a nonprofit is on contract to manage it. Richard Czoski, director of the Railyard Community Corporation, says the sale of the building and the tenants already planned to fill some of its empty spaces are good signs.
Construction on new tenant spaces is due to begin this summer and wrap early next year.
The city of Santa Fe has offices on the second story of the building in what is essentially a condominium it owns that is separate from the rest of the property.